Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a pyridoxine-dependent condition: urinary diagnostic biomarkers

Med Hypotheses. 2014 Jan;82(1):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.11.018. Epub 2013 Nov 21.


The data obtained in children with different forms of epilepsy allowed us to consider epilepsy as an inborn error of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) metabolism (Dolina et al., 2012). Mutual interconnections between ADHD and epilepsy indicate that such an approach is reasonable for ADHD. To check such an assumption we analyzed in ADHD patients the same parameters of pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent tryptophan (TRP) degradation, which were analyzed in epileptic children. The level of TRP and concentrations of compounds formed or metabolized by TRP degradation, the ratios between some of them, and the level of 4-pyridoxic acid were HPLC detected in ADHD children and healthy controls. The data obtained, including low values of 4PA/TRP, IND/TRP and IND/KYN ratios, have evidenced dramatically impaired activity of pyridoxine-dependent enzymes in ADHD patients. Ritalin treatment did not change the general pattern of TRP degradation, but still created a kind of balance between some of detected metabolites. However, the 4PA/TRP, IND/TRP and IND/KYN ratios remained as low as in untreated patients, keeping the importance of diagnostic markers. Almost identical parameters of TRP degradation in untreated ADHD and epileptic patients allow to assume that inborn disorders of vitamin B6 metabolism are the common biochemical background of both diseases. The disturbed activity of PLP dependent enzymes apparently forms those profound disturbances of neurotransmitter systems, which are inherent in ADHD: low concentrations of monoamines and disordered amino acid metabolism. If vitamin B6 disorders are the core biochemical disturbances inherent in ADHD, then the long-term pyridoxine treatment is pathogenetically based replacement therapy of the disease. According to our data, multi-year pyridoxine treatment normalizes completely the pattern of ADHD behavior, without causing any serious side effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / urine
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Humans
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pyridoxine / metabolism*
  • Tryptophan / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Methylphenidate
  • Tryptophan
  • Pyridoxine